Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr With everyone’s favorite webslinger swinging back into theaters this July, ComicsVerse is taking a look back at SPIDER-MAN’s greatest adventures. From the big screen to the small screen to a simple comic panel, we will find out how this ol’ Web Head has evolved since he first webbed his way into our imagination. Spiderman has been one of Marvel’s biggest characters since his first appearance in AMAZING FANTASY #15, August 1962. With a teenaged Peter Parker taking center stage, many young readers finally found a character they could connect to. Peter took to the streets on his own, proving to the general public that youth had a purpose. Spiderman is a staple of the comic book industry, and this history has inspired dozens of heroes to don the webbed tights. Across various timelines, countries, and even creative mediums, Spiderman is no longer just Peter Parker. The Spider-Verse is vast and growing more crowded every day. In 2015’s SPIDER-VERSE event series, Peter Parker and other multiversal Spiders became prey for a group known as the Inheritors. These extra-dimensional vampires hunted across many realities seeking the life-force of animal totems, beings with mystical ties to wildlife. Their greatest satisfaction, however, came in the form of Spider Totems. To stop a Spider extinction, Peter joined with various versions of Spidermen and Spiderwomen from across the multiverse to prevent the Inheritors. READ: Excited for SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING? Dig into the latest trailer with ComicsVerse, and explore the smallest hints you might have missed. This article looks to explore eight of the most interesting or influential variations of the Spider-Totem. By looking at the history of these remarkable characters, we may just learn what it means to don the spider’s web. 1. Spider-Punk — The Revolutionary Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDERMAN Vol.3 #10 Home Universe: Earth-138 Creators: Dan Slott, Olivier Coipel Who reading this, did not go through a Punk-Rock phase? Origin Spider-Punk is one of the rare spiders not to be a variation on Peter Parker. Instead, the “Anarchic Spider-Man” is an alternate version of Hobie Brown. On Earth-616, Hobie Brown has been a recurring ally of Peter Parker since 1969. Taking on the mantle of Prowler, Hobie set out to clean up the streets of New York City with a high-tech super suit featuring sleeping gas pellets and sharp claws. Hobie even helped Peter cement his secret identity by impersonating Spider-Man in public. While not a variation on Peter Parker, this African-American rock god deserves a spot on the SPIDER-VERSE team for his importance to Peter’s history. However, he earns a spot among the Web Warriors simply for the cool level of his multiversal origin. On Spider-Punk’s home Earth-138, billionaire Norman Osborn has been elected president and polices the streets with an army of Venom-infused soldiers. The only resistance comes from the Spider Army, led by Hobie. This team of washed-up degenerates rocks the streets of Manhattan with “an army of amps set to 11.” That’s right, folks, Spider-Punk used music to take down an army, preying on Venom’s one weakness. Best of SPIDER-VERSE Hobie is notably one of SPIDER-VERSE’s earliest recruits. However, his speaking roles are almost nonexistent. In fact, Superior Spiderman, a.k.a. Doctor Octopus in Peter Parker’s body, sees potential in all of Hobie’s pent-up anger and invites him onto the team, and that’s about it. Though his role in SPIDER-VERSE is somewhat understated, SpiderPunk shines in his solo preview issue. He is shown during his final battle with Norman Osborn, who’s only goal (I cannot lie) is “to make America great again.” After knocking aside the entire Venom army with one guitar riff, Spider-Punk nearly kills Osborn by hitting him over the head with his guitar. In one of his few spotlight moments, Hobie repeats this move, smashing his guitar over and Inheritor’s helmeted head. It is impossible to mention Spider-Punk and not include one of his greatest lines of dialogue. “We don’t have the power of the state. We don’t have the authority on our side, the cops, or the media. What we have are angry hearts. Clenched fists. Love and rage… and 15,000 watts of punkrock, from an army of amps set to 11.” Rock on, Hobart. Courtesy of Marvel Comics 2. SP//dr — The Spider-Mech Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #5 Home Universe: Earth-14512 Creators: Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt Origin SP//dr was created by Gerard Way, lead singer of Pop-Punk band My Chemical Romance. As a robotic super-suit, you may be surprised to learn that a young girl pilots SP//dr. Peni Parker’s father died piloting the SP//dr suit, so from a young age, Peni has carried the weight of her great responsibility. Psychically linked to a genetically enhanced spider, the pair pilot this mech across New York alongside her mentor, Daredevil. Together, they work for the US government of Earth-14512 against gangs of genetically enhanced criminals. Peni has no basis in Spiderman history. The mech suit aside, that might be one of the coolest things about her. Marvel specifically designed Peni as a soldier for the SPIDERVERSE event, and as a young heroine, she expresses what Spiderman meant to his early readers. Some might look at Peni as an Iron Man clone, and the suit’s aesthetic might suggest some Tony Stark motifs. However, her design stems from Japanese mech stories like NEON CRISIS EVANGELION and GUNDAM, which sets her apart from all of the other Spiders. Best of SPIDER-VERSE Courtesy of Marvel Comics Despite not having a history in the Spiderman mythos, Peni Parker and SP//dr play a somewhat significant role in the SPIDERVERSE event. Her speaking roles are limited at best, but she matters to the team for what she represents. While her age is not explicitly stated, she is no older than a middle schooler in this story, not much younger than Peter Parker was in his early appearances. While her age is only mentioned in her EDGE OF SPIDERVERSE one shot, she still carries this inherent innocence into the grand battles. She takes her morality and powers from her father, but her strength comes from this innocence. It calls back to the golden days of Spiderman’s heroism when he inspired young people everywhere to make a difference. 3. Takuya Yamashiro — The Iron Cross Killer Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: SPIDERMAN Ep.1 “The Time of Revenge has Come! Beat Down Iron Cross Group!!” Home Universe: Earth-51778 Creators: Shozo Uehara Origin “I am the Emissary of Hell! And I shall fight this great evil for the fate of all Spiders!” Meet Takuya Yamashiro. While you may not recognize his name, this version of Spiderman was one of the first live-action film versions of the character. He first appeared in a Japanese adaptation of SPIDER-MAN in 1978. Yamashiro carries with him all of the camp and kawaii that defines the SUPER SENTAI television series. Toei even developed SPIDER-MAN, the same company that developed the original SUPER SENTAI franchise. WATCH: Follow along as ComicsVerse interviews Chip Zdarsky, the writer of Spectacular Spider-Man! Though Yamashiro wears the same costume and has identical powers as Peter Parker, his origin is drastically different. After an attack by an alien armada called the Iron Cross Army, a spaceship is downed on Earth carrying a rebel leader named Garia. Yamashiro, a motorcycle racer, stumbles upon the crashed ship and is injected with “Spider Extract.” With this serum, Yamashiro is granted the powers of a spider, as well as a super suit and a power bracelet. With the power to sense attacks from the Iron Cross Army, Yamashiro decides to battle the aliens that killed his father using Garia’s gifts. Best of SPIDER-VERSE Of course, it would not be a predecessor to POWER RANGERS without giant mechs. The Spiderman from Earth-51778 can call upon Leopardon, a sentient robot, to pilot into battle. While one of the stranger entries on this list, Takuya has a dark history in the Spiderman mythos. His inclusion in SPIDER-VERSE was a means to honor those who made Spiderman a cultural icon. In the pages of the SPIDER-VERSE event, it is hard to give “Every Spiderman Ever!” their proper page time, and sadly, Takuya is limited to maybe four panels. His appearances, though, are epic. In his very first introduction, Peter Parker rips a whole into Takuya’s Universe and Leopardon slams through to take on Solus. The battle lasts for two splash pages, and Leopardon loses, but the visuals are incredible. Later, when the Spiders have taken the fight to the Inheritors, Leopardon makes a grand reappearance to finish this final battle. While they don’t receive the page time they deserve, Takuya and Leopardon are the wacky and incredible spider heroes that we deserve. Courtesy of Toei Entertainment 4. Ashley Barton — The Leader in the Wasteland Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: OLD MAN LOGAN #2 Home Universe: Earth-807128 Creators: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven Origin Ashley Barton is the daughter of Clint Barton and Peter Parker’s daughter, Tonya, and in a world run by supervillains, Ashley only learned that the villain gets ahead. Ashley comes from the world shown in the fan-favorite OLD MAN LOGAN. In this world, many of the world’s superheroes were killed in one final climactic battle with a unified villain front. Living in the Kingpin’s territory, Ashley is captured after an attempted coup. After her father and the former Wolverine find out about her dire straits, they pack up the Spider-Buggy and head off to save her. Hawkeye believes his daughter is acting on her super-lineage, but after they free her from Kingpin’s prison, she uses the Kingpin’s head for batting practice. Her goal was never to just end Kingpin but to take over his territory. Best of SPIDER-VERSE While she does not play a significant role in SPIDER-VERSE, this Spider-Woman presents something interesting. Though her goal was to take over the Kingpin’s territory, she was still driven by the rotten lives of those around her. She became a killer to save people like her mother, people who worked hard and didn’t get any credit. Ashley has a unique position within the Web-Warriors, being one of the few willing to kill. More than that, she is driven to kill, especially concerning the Inheritors. All of Spiderman’s fears about the abuse of great power fold into Ashley Barton’s being, yet she still embodies his hopes. Superior Spiderman targeted her for her ruthlessness, but she stayed a Web-Warrior to protect others like her. Ashley Barton may be a killer, but at the end of the day, she exists to question whether the ends justify the means. It is interesting to note that Ashley’s role in the final battle is enormous. Splitting off with a small group of Spiders, she was thrust into a battle with Karn, an exiled Inheritor trying to win back his family’s love. While she originally plans to kill Karn, Ashley single-handedly convinces the Inheritor to join their ranks. Ashley shows in this instance that she is only willing to kill when it is necessary. Her end goal is to do what she feels is right for the majority. Courtesy of Marvel Comics 5. Lady Spider — The Steampunk Genius Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: SPIDER-VERSE #3 Home Universe: Earth-803 Creators: Robbie Thompson and Denis Madri Origin May Parker has no super powers. In fact, she is not even a spider totem. Despite this, she is one of the smartest variations of a spider character in SPIDER-VERSE. Born into the steampunk-inspired Earth-803, May was the only woman in her college graduating class. One day in her father’s study, his caged spider bit May. While not irradiated or genetically enhanced, the spider did teach May a valuable lesson: never let anyone cage you. With her new inspiration, May went to her father’s garage and built a mechanical apparatus that would let her climb walls and a set of web-shooters. During a ball, she debuted after the Mayor was captured by Electro and his Six Men of Sinestry. Not only did she save the Mayor, but Lady Spider became a hero and inspiration as well. Best of SPIDER-VERSE Though understated, the battle with the Inheritors would not have been won without Lady Spider’s aid. After Superior Spiderman had recruited her, she helped in killing and autopsying an Inheritor, which provided invaluable knowledge about their cloning process. More importantly, she helped Spiderman 2099 repair Takuya Yamashiro’s Leopardon in time for the final battle on the Inheritor’s Earth. More than any of the other spiders, she represents what it means to be a Spider in the multiverse. Even with no powers, Lady Spider takes on the greatest of responsibilities. READ: Want more Spiderman? Check out these Marvel released variant covers featuring Mary Jane Watson! Just as important, May shows that it is a Spider’s intelligence that is his or her most forgotten features. Spiderman is one of the smartest members of the (nonenhanced) Marvel universe, but most recognize him for sticking to walls and shooting webs. No offense to Sam Raimi’s films, but where are the Web-Shooters? That was something that always drew me to the character. Even with his great superpowers, Peter Parker shines in the lab, as a researcher. 6. Captain Universe — The God-Powered Spider Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: MICRONAUTS #8 (The Enigma Force); AMAZING SPIDERMAN Vol.3 #9 (SPIDER-VERSE) Home Universe: Earth-13 Creators: Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden Origin From no powers to absolute power, Captain Universe is Peter Parker as God. While it may seem odd that this God-Spider just happens to exist, Captain Universe has a major role in Spiderman history. At one point, the Enigma Force foresaw tragedy on Earth-616 and bonded with Peter Parker. Astounded with this power, Peter took on several villains including the devastating Tri-Sentinel. However, the Enigma Force eventually left Peter. On Earth-13, though, Peter Parker was given a choice, and he kept the powers of Captain Universe. While we do not know his universe, this adult Peter Parker seems to have won peace. There are no sirens, no screams or fear. There is not but silence and the Spiders. Best of SPIDER-VERSE Courtesy of Marvel Comics Captain Universe’s role in the SPIDER-VERSE is as the grand protector of the other spiders. With his ultimate power, the other Spiders feel safe and confident to use his home earth as their base of operations. The thought process, of course, was that the Inheritors couldn’t defeat a god. However, Karn, easily the weakest of the Inheritors, kills another spider-deity singlehanded. The truth? None of the Inheritors could consume Captain Universe’s vast life energy. None but their leader, Solus. In one grand battle, Solus invades Earth-13 to deal the killing blow to the Spiders. Captain Universe appears, set to defeat Solus, but he falls. In his dying breath, he states one of the most interesting variations on the Great Power speech. “I had absolute Power… Absolute Responsibility.” Some may take this as Peter’s godhood going to his head, but it is a fascinating turn of phrase. This Peter still watched his Uncle Ben die, and he used that as an impetus to become a superhero. At the end of the day, he merely succeeded in finally saving the world. Captain Universe never fell until his battle with Solus, metaphorically or physically. He is the strongest representation of Ben’s final words, and Captain Universe died living them out. 7. Spider-Gwen — The Hero that Saves Spiderman Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #2 Home Universe: Earth-65 Creators: Jason Latour and Robbie Rodriguez Origin Fun fact: Stan Lee never wanted Gwen Stacy to die. In fact, he was on vacation when her death went to press. In interviews, he has detailed how Gwen Stacy was meant to be Spiderman’s one and only. Over the years, she has made many cameos. In HOUSE OF M, she and Peter were married. In SPIDERMAN BLUE, Peter explains the depths of his pain. Gwen Stacy has been cloned and shoved into stories for three decades, but none of those roles matter. Not when compared to Gwen Stacy, Spider-Woman. In Earth-65, Gwen Stacy receives the fateful bite by the OsCorp spider, not Peter Parker, and she becomes Spider-Woman. Fan culture, though, has dubbed her Spider-Gwen. In her world, a bullied Peter Parker turns to science and becomes the Lizard, wrecking Midtown High in revenge. Gwen Stacy stops him, but the substance leaving his system kills Peter in Gwen’s arms. Best of SPIDER-VERSE When SPIDER-VERSE opens, Peter Parker refuses to let Gwen fight. He doesn’t see that this is war, and either could die at any point. Spider-Gwen works because she encapsulates redemption. She isn’t a pawn to forgive Peter. That would belittle her own struggles. Both of these Spiders need to forgive themselves; they have both made mistakes. Unlike Peter, Gwen has moved on. Her arc in SPIDER-VERSE is all about becoming her own hero, about finding her place outside of being JUST another Gwen Stacy. In the story, she runs off with Silk for just this reason. She is flawed, and in that, she learns more about herself. There is a huge focus on Spider-Gwen’s character in SPIDER-VERSE, as she is finally allowed to heal. Courtesy of Marvel Comics 8. Ben Parker — The Failed Hero Courtesy of Marvel Comics First Appearance: AMAZING FANTASY #15 (Uncle Ben); SPIDER-VERSE #1 (As Spiderman) Home Universe: Earth-3145 Creators: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Origin No character has defined Peter Parker more than his Uncle Ben. Few quotes are as famously misquoted as “With Great Power must also come Great Responsibility.” Ben Parker’s appearance in SPIDER-VERSE seems like a no-brainer. However, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Ben Parker appeared on the page. Ben Parker from Earth-3145 has faced tragedy. After being bitten by an irradiated spider at his nephew, Peter’s, science fair, Ben developed powers. Peter wanted him to use those powers for fun and money. Ben knew that he had a responsibility. Peter helped design a super-suit, and Ben Parker became Spiderman. After years fighting crime, Ben’s identity slipped, and the Emerald Elf killed his family. Best of SPIDER-VERSE Ben Parker’s death is one of the most famous comic book deaths. After a radioactive spider bites Peter, he fails to listen to his uncle’s advice. Peter refuses to stop a robbery in progress, and the robber shoots Ben in an alley. This death sent ripples through the rest of Peter’s life, driving him to be the Spiderman he became. It wasn’t just Earth-616 Peter Parker though. The loss of a loved one defines nearly every Spiderman and some Spider-Women. We have seen it with Peni Parker and Takuya Yamashiro, but it is an epidemic for anyone wearing a spider. Lost in the world, Ben gave up on heroics, and he watched from inside a bunker as Doctor Octopus destroyed the world. As the last remaining human, Ben Parker has failed. Even with the threat of the Inheritors, he refuses to join the fight until Superior Spiderman gives him some encouragement. He takes up the name, gets back up on his feet, and takes on the Inheritors. His story ends with him becoming “the one thing no Ben Parker has ever been: a grandfather” to Benjy and Mayday Parker. Courtesy of Marvel Comics Into the Spider-Verse: What does it mean to wear the Spider? A lot of this list came together out of personal preference. These eight spiders are some of my favorite alternate versions of Spiderman. After all, who doesn’t love a giant spider robot, a steampunk genius, and cameos from our favorite dead characters? WATCH: Looking for a laugh? This drunk college student tries to explain Peter Parker’s origin story, and the results are hilarious. However, looking back at my decisions, each of these characters represents some part of what it means to wear the webs. While none fully encapsulates the concept like the original, each approaches the costume with fervor, justice, and great inner strength. With no powers, Lady Spider takes to the streets and uses her intelligence as a weapon. Captain Universe embodies the true meaning behind “With Great Power…” While controversial, Ashley Barton and Spider-Punk both carry a sort of youth revolution, taking to the streets no matter what and fighting for your beliefs. Gwen Stacy embodies redemption, and Takuya Yamashiro represents overcoming great adversity. On top of it all, SP//dr digs into the true innocence of Spiderman. It is Ben Parker that takes on the greatest responsibility with their powers. He fell to the depths and didn’t want to crawl out. Ben simply gives up. In the end, though, he pulls himself up and rises to true heroism. His gumption most defines spiderman. More than any other superhero, Spiderman refuses to give up. Even if his foes outmatch and outclass him, Spiderman gets up and takes another punch. Each hit he takes is one he keeps from an innocent. SPIDER-VERSE is a discourse on who Spiderman really is: a man who honors his great responsibility. If you enjoyed this article, check out the Best Alternate Spiders On Earth-616 as well!